By Fr. Roy Cimagala
“WHOEVER exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Mt 23,12) With these words, Christ wants us always to be humble since humility is a basic virtue that guarantees our adherence to the truth. It enables us to be consistent in our life, with our intentions, words and deeds in agreement.
Earlier in this particular part of the gospel, Christ complained about the hypocrisy of the leading Jews of his time. “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice,” he said. (Mt 23,2-3)
And he continued, “They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen.”
These words perfectly describe a common anomaly called hypocrisy. We should really work on our need for humility that can only lead us to be transparent and sincere, and to build up and keep our integrity of life.
We cannot deny that many are the elements nowadays that can undermine that need for humility. Signs and even clear structures of the absence of humility can only lead us to hypocrisy, deceit, corruption and the like. Sad to say, they seem to be the mainstream culture today.
Consider again what benefits a good sense of a humility-inspired transparency can give us. It will help us develop and sustain our integrity in life. It means that everything that we do is good, that is, morally good. Of course, this sense of transparency can only take root when it is based on our faith in God who sets all the laws in our life, and therefore, all that is good for us.
We have to realize more deeply that before God, nothing can be hidden. We therefore have to adapt a lifestyle that would make us do everything in his presence. In fact, we are not simply meant to do things in his presence. It is more to do everything for God’s glory. Thus, when we do things without God in mind, let us be warned that we are already doing things wrongly.
We should not base our sense of transparency on human, natural and worldly criteria alone. These latter standards do not capture all the good proper to us. At best, they may just be silent about the finer nuances and consequences of what is generally good for us. We have to remember that many mysteries shroud our understanding of things.
But what is bad nowadays is that our human laws and worldly standards have started to go against God’s will. This, of course, can be due to our limitations in truly understanding God’s law. But it can also be due to our sinfulness and malice. Nowadays, I believe it is the latter that has led us to make laws that are openly against God’s law. We need to do something drastic about this predicament.
These laws can only mean the absence of humility. They only show how we can be proud and vain, how we can think that we can be simply on our own and that we do not have any need of God anymore.
We need to be truly guarded against this danger. We need to be humble to keep ourselves in the loop of truth and charity.